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An up close look at history


Texas Raiders offer look at and rides in B-17 Flying Fortress this week

Nearly 70 years since the last B-17 joined the largest air armada ever to fill the skies during WWII Texas Raiders, a fully restored B-17 Flying Fortress, will be roaring over Bossier-Shreveport Thursday.

Of the 12,731 B-17s built across the US, only 9 are currently flying — including Texas Raiders, which is part of the Commemorative Air Force.  One of the last flying examples of the famous WWII aircraft arrives April 24 in Shreveport, offering attendees at the Barksdale Air Force Base air show a rare opportunity to see and touch one of history’s most storied heavy bombers.

Texas Raiders was the first Flying Fortress to be operated solely for the sake of preservation and use as a flying museum.  She is one of the most accurately restored B-17’s – bristling with machine guns, featuring period-specific radio equipment and the famous Norden bombsite.  Texas Raiders performs regularly in airshows and flyovers throughout the United States, reuniting veterans and the public with the historic WWII aircraft.

The Barksdale AFB Open House and Air Show will feature a wide variety of aircraft in performance and static display, led by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Texas Raiders will offer tours and the unique opportunity to ride in the historic aircraft, and host honored veterans of the 307th Bomber Wing for a special tour. On Thursday, April 24 and Friday, April 25, the big bomber will be in residence at the Shreveport Downtown Airport. The public is invited to visit the aircraft and for nominal admission can take a walk-through tour that includes commentary from crew members. Enthusiasts who want the ultimate Flying Fortress experience can make a reservation now for one of the limited number of 30-minute flights on the classic aircraft.

Texas Raiders will be on display and in performance at Barksdale AFB Saturday, April 26 and and Sunday, Aprill 27, and will return to the Downtown Airport for tours and rides throughout the day Monday, April 28.

The public is invited to come out to Shreveport Downtown Airport, 1550 Airport Drive, to tour the aircraft and talk with her crew.  Those who wish to fly with Texas Raiders are encouraged to call 1-855-FLY-A-B17 (1-855-359-2217) or email info@B17TexasRaiders.org  to make a reservation.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.